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Operation: Jack Frost

Short story By: rofltaco
Science fiction



A 17 year old super soldier named Carson experiences a turning point in his maturity as him and his squad, Frost Company, go out to reinforce the Russian-US border in Alaska. Carson is a bit of a rebel, but ultimately learns and grows from what happens all in the course of a day.


Submitted:Jan 10, 2010    Reads: 150    Comments: 1    Likes: 3   


A familiar flickering blue light stirred the groggy Carson into sub-consciousness.Could it really be time already? He thought. His first reaction was to question very loudly within his own thoughts. Is it time to mobilize? No answer met his mental question, as it usually did. Then he remembered why this was the case, and why he could feel the biting Alaska cold in his thighs. The previous night he had dropped off his activation chip and his contacts at the repair shop for an upgrade. He squeezed instinctively at the handles of the US army issue sleeper pod he was lying in and the cloaking turned off, materializing his own body and the rest of the pod for the outside world. Carson was a super soldier on a special military operation of dire importance, code named "Operation Jack Frost" because of the intense cold of the Alaskan front they defended. He sat up and felt the aches and pains of six months at war in this drastic combat, something he was not used to. He made to get up after turning off the flashing light inside his pod. It only flashes when enemies were approaching, but they weren't scheduled for combat for another four days. As he thought to himself, he began to really feel the cold, so he picked up his pace to a trot as he made for the armory to get his chip and contacts.

The world, through natural eyes, was a strange place to him by this point. Scanning around him, the swarm of soldiers in their pure white combat armor mixed with the whiteout conditions made everything quite nearly impossible for him to see, much different from when his vision was enhanced through the contacts. He reached the armory and stepped inside.

"Hey Bill," said Carson through chattering teeth. He had forgotten just how cold Alaska truly was.

"I see you're here for your gear, correct? We should be mobilizing soon, within the hour I think, orders of General Burdock. You should get your self combat ready as soon as possible." Replied Bill in his deep, gruff voice. Bill stood at least a head over Carson. He was older as well, serving from the ages of 16 to 42 in the army. Now approaching 55, he was hardly a man fit for combat, so he served as weapons expert and manager at the armory. He had a full head of black hair with grey streaks shooting through it and a rough looking beard that seemed an extension of his hair that simply decided to grow on his face instead. His eyes were drooping and tired looking, his eyelids drooping lazily over the constantly bloodshot eyes. They were such a dark brown they nearly appeared black. He was battle scarred and a master with nearly every firearm you could bring him.

"I thought Corporal Stein was in command of our regiment?" Questioned Carson. Carson, although dwarfed by Bill, was really on the short side of average. His hair had grown from the fresh shave military issue it was when he got to the battlefront to a swooping whirlwind of blonde, which hung nearly to his shoulders. It wasn't unkempt, however, as one might expect with a soldier. It stayed straight and tidy, partially due to the natural way it grew and partially due to the frigid cold and extreme dryness of the climate. It was too cold for much humidity. He was not particularly muscular, looking much less so than the average super soldier you might encounter, but he was definitely strong for his size. Strong enough, anyway, to fight in roughly two hundred pounds of equipment, although the chip's muscle enhancement is a major help. He preferred to keep his face clean-shaven.

"No, he got transferred to a black ops assignment. Working with the real cutting edge of both tech and troops, you know?" Replied Bill. "Burdock took over the position in his absence. They believe him more qualified for the job anyway, which he really is, and he likes working with us grunt troops. After all, we're the ones who do the real work without crying about who's technology is better, am I right?" With that he heartily slapped Carson on the back, nearly propelling him into the floor. "Oh, right, no suit. Sorry buddy, I forget how scrawny you are without it sometimes," he kidded.

"Yeah, yeah I know, just hand over my stuff and I'll be on my merry way," said Carson, annoyance only feigned in his tone. Bill handed over the chip and the contacts and after a brief salute the pair bid each other farewell. When he arrived at the equipment bay, Carson placed in his chip and felt the effects course through his entire body as a wave of golden glow pulsated across every nerve in his body, shining through the flesh. He could feel the cold ebbing out of his body as a comforting warm replaced it. His muscles tightened to their normal strength for him. He removed his coat and walked towards the uniform waiting in a locker nobody had touched yet. The men around him dressed for battle, some with smiles on their faces singing songs of victory and inspiring tunes with their buddies, some with panic in their eyes as they solemnly dawned their clothing, wondering if it would be their final time dressing up for the fight, and a small margin bowed their heads in prayer or kissed crucifix necklaces as they rapidly muttered to God under their breath. The small mirror in the locker reflected an image Carson did not often see - his own self. At first glance he admired what he saw: Broad shoulders, fairly muscular arms and chest, bright blue eyes, and all topped off by a great head of hair. It had been a fair amount of time since he had seen a mirror without his chip or contacts in. Then, however, he began to notice things that were most displeasing to him. For one thing, the lack of proper bathing while in combat had left him with quite a bit of acne for a seventeen year old. The other men in the room were mostly full adults, as they had only recently re-lowered the recruiting age from 18 to 16, as it had been when Bill enlisted. Another recent fault was the way his eyes were now sunken into his skull more than before. This combined with the paleness and the acne made him regret his previous good feelings about his appearance. Fifteen minutes to go time, repeat, fifteen minutes, warned Carson's squad commander. The notice issued through the radio function of the chips almost surprised Carson after his posing session in the mirror. He had to hurry up.

He slipped on the first layer of his three layer combat gear. The first was a full body Kevlar suit with insulation on the inner side. This had a large opening down the front, so as to allow you to step in and pull the sleeves on over your shoulders. The result was rather like a black turtleneck jump suit, which had been cut down from the neck to roughly the belly button level. Carson knew how to properly seal it, however. He aligned one flap of the opening over the other and passed his right hand smoothly over the surface. As he did so, he utilized one of the many great functions of the chip to manipulate the composing atoms of the Kevlar material, stripping them of their outer electrons and forcing them to bond together, then replacing them, all in an instant. The result was a smooth, undetectable seam where the opening was all the way up to his neckline. The second layer was more simple to apply. It was a thick vest of scaled armor, comprised of a material derived from spider's webbing which is proportionately stronger than steel. It had a Kevlar base with steel threading interwoven into the fabric. The scales covered every inch of the thing, brown scales of the spider web material (named fleek) providing superb protection to the wearer. The final layer was a host of advanced, condensed carbon fiber plating which covered nearly every inch of the body. This layer was strapped on piece-by-piece, taking by far the longest to apply of all. It was well worth it though, as tests with the armor when fired upon at point blank range had shown only minute tolls taken on the surface. Flakes and chips burst off but the flesh placed behind in went completely unscathed by small arms fire until fired upon eight times in the same spot. Knives are ineffective unless through a direct stab to the neck. Slashes are useless. The wearer is as a tank, nearly impossible to harm. This was only given to the front line troops. A lighter version was adapted for black ops units, and the first two layers are the standard issue of all units that aren't direct spearhead troops. The outermost layer is, for the units of Frost Company, pure white, to blend with the snow. After he was suited up, Carson got his contacts out from his pocket. Although he had 20/20 vision, these contacts were essential to surviving in 2053 warfare. As he placed them in, he closed his eyes, allowing the changes to be made as the same familiar biting sensation dug into the entire surface of his eyeballs. The pain was but momentary, and the benefits became apparent and all too worth it when he opened his eyes to the new world that presented itself to him. The contacts faded all unnecessary material to black. This included the falling snow, the ground, and most of the terrain around him. What was left was an outline of what was once there. Objects potentially used for cover were lightly shaded blue. His own body glowed a bright gold, signifying something deemed "high importance." Friendlies were a deep shining blue, and enemies ranged from brown to red based on threat level. All the men he has encountered thus far have been a reddish brown, the only deep reds he saw were the bullets tracing towards him and the live explosives being hurled in his direction. He grabbed a large, full metal assault rifle from the locker and closed it. He was about to leave when something in his gut instructed him otherwise. He opened it back up and saw his helmet sitting on the floor of the locker. He picked it up and had it ready to go on his head when he spotted two bandanas laying beneath the spot where the helmet had been. A smile crept across his face as an idea formulated in his mind. One was black and the other was red, two of his favorite colors. How could an opportunity this perfect be missed? He placed the helmet on a hook in the locker and instead tied the black bandana around the top of his right arm, and the red one folded up around his head. He looked back into the mirror and was pleased with what he saw. The sunken eyes and paler complexion had enhanced his intimidation in a way, and the bandanas had given him that rogue look he had always admired in some of the other men who fought without helmets. He had promised his mother at home that he would always wear full gear into battle, but then again, he had also promised her he would keep his hair short, wouldn't take up smoking and wouldn't adopt the foul language most soldiers did, all three of which he had fallen short of completing over his time here on the front. He shut the locker and headed out of the army to meet his squad mates and be briefed on the operation they were about to undertake, lighting up a cigarette on his way. Although he was underage, nobody said anything because life was immensely stressful on a soldier, especially one as young as Carson was, and any way they could cope with it was accepted. The smoke felt good entering his lungs as it helped push back the cold that seemed to pierce into his heart; however this troubled him little, as the chip helped pain and cold tolerance alike. He arrived at the gates of the camp to find his squad waiting for deployment.

"Alright, are we all clear on the plan then?" Announced the squad leader, Sergeant Cook. He too was wearing no helmet, although most of the men in the squad had made no modifications to their gear. Cook, however, chose to do what he wanted. He had removed his left shoulder plating and many pieces from the legs and forearms. What was left was a patchwork collection of battered, pockmarked armor, which in many places let the vest of scales underneath show through. As a result, they had his second layer vest dyed white to match his outer plating. Being the rebel he was, he had decided to spray paint a big black bull's eye on the front and back of his torso. He thought it funny to watch the enemies fail to kill the man that was literally a "moving target." His skin was dark and he was around the same height as Carson but definitely more built. His facial hair seemed always to be a short scruff although he was never seen shaving, and he wore his hair in a short mohawk, buzzing the rest of it all the way off. His preferred combat headgear was aviator sunglasses and he always got his hands on a cigar before going into the fight. The sole reason his ridiculous behavior was tolerated was because of his extreme ability in combat. He had more kills than any of the men in the base, including the commanding officers (he even kept a tally on one of the few remaining pieces of plate armor). The only reason he wasn't promoted or transferred to black ops was simply because nobody else would have him due to his sheer defiance of regulations. He preferred it this way however, as he enjoyed being just another one of the boys fighting for their lives in the baron Alaskan front.

"Ah, I see you decided to join us, Mills. So nice of you to try to dress like me, too!" He addressed Carson in a mocking tone which was met by low laughter from the men, even a few chuckles from some of the newer recruits. "Alright since pretty boy over there wasn't here, I'll go over the general idea once more," said Cook in his usual sardonic manner. "Fourth Squad encountered some Russians while on border watch, said this wave's packin' some serious heat. They're pinned down and can't get themselves out of it. Apparently the Russians have some pretty tough tech of their own, and they plan on using it to tear you all apart. We're moving in with Alpine company to help reinforce the Fourth. The more we sit around here, the more of them are being picked off because apparently they don't know how to defend themselves, so if everybody's all done playing dress up it's time to get rolling." Cook picked up his gun, slammed in a magazine and chambered in a round. "Let's move," he said as a malicious smile played across his face.

Approaching the battleground, some of the newbies were obviously scared senseless. This would be a baptism of fire to remember. Carson saw on the horizon explosions going off, gunfire flying in every direction and men being hurtled into the air. Alpine Company was his our heels, but being the first to fight was never an easy task. Coming ever closer to the fight, Blue figures were suddenly struck in the head, keeled over and faded out to black all along the entrenched borders. A sinking sensation washed over Carson as he began seeing gleaming red figures storming the trenches - hundreds of them. Although he was one of one hundred and fifty men, the nerves still gripped his chest, tightening his insides and making a bead of sweat roll down his spine, instantly making him shiver throughout his entire body.

"Not good to be coked up before a fight, pretty boy," teased Cook. "Control your twitches, it looks bad to the newbies." This belittlement actually reassured Carson, and as he took his first steps onto the battlefield he was calm and collected. Another drag on his cigarette brought his nerves to steel as he sighted in on his first target.

He aligned the red dot sight on the top of his rifle to the neck of the gold tinged red figure. This was an officer he was about to drop. Breathe, aim, squeeze, he thought, remembering his training. With a smooth exhale his finger glided the trigger all the way back, releasing three rounds in rapid succession, streaking with intense speed to his target to deliver three fifty caliber blows directly on target. The man fell like a rock, although the color remained in his figure. He got back up, shook his head, and looked directly at where Carson stood.

"This can't be good," said Cook as the enemy officer brushed off the three rapid headshots. The figure raised a pistol, and with seemingly a point shot, hit one of the rookies directly in the throat. The loud crack came an instant after the round traced through him and his blood drenched the snow. He fell down, dead instantly as the blue faded out from his figure and he turned to black. Carson glanced back up as the officer lowered his pistol yet continued to stare into their squad. All of a sudden, an ear-splitting screech overwhelmed the radio signal of Carson's chip and he fell to the floor, squirming about helplessly as the relentless assault on his ear drums continued to unceasingly pierce into the depths of his very brain. The men all around him screamed and tore their helmets off in an attempt to rid themselves of the audio assault. Two more rounds streaked through the air, one hitting one of the newly helmet less men's head. The thing was destroyed by the gunshot, and the mutilated flesh that was once a human face lay helpless in the snow. The only way to assuage his ears seemed to be to remove the chip from his brain. Carson groped at the right side of his head searching for the small slot as the screech continued to sound. Men's ears were bleeding as the overwhelmed radio signal continued in their ears, many being picked off like cattle by the Russian soldiers. Stealing a glance upward, Carson saw a group of roughly twenty brightly gleaming red figures moving in on them, guns trained on his comrades, lead by the same officer who initiated the attack. They opened fire with their guns, spraying Carson' squad with bullets, taking out many men who had shed their helmets to try to rip out the chips. Carson felt blood streaming down from his ears as he ducked his head under his arms and hit the ground, still groping for the slot where he could rip out the chip. Bullets bounced from his armor as his fingers finally met a small metal slot and he felt the chip's exterior. He ripped the thing from its place and the screech ceased at last. His ears were still ringing unbelievably, and the full effect of everything unleashed its toll on his natural body. The armor protecting him now felt as a whole other person sitting on top of him, his bleeding ears surged immense, paralyzing pain surged throughout his entire body as he curled into a fetal position and tucked his head into his arms. He felt each bullet deflecting off his armor as a knock-out punch against his bare skin. New waves of pain rolled over him with each impact. The world's colors were back. All was snow blind white and crimson with streaks of pink. The color of men's insides littered all around him as the ringing began to recede and screams now met his ears. Through all the suffering and chaotic gunfire, he heard one thing that rallied the near dead hopes pitifully lingering in his heart.

Through the carnage he made out screams of defiance, and some straight vulgarity, coming from none other than Cook. He had somehow managed to remove the chip before the rest of them and was now standing at the front of the pack, administering a thorough lead-cased beat down on the Russian assaulters. Wielding two assault rifles, one in either hand, cook was firing into the advancing enemies, pulling clean head shots as their bullets all whizzed just to the side of the man that was literally a "moving target." He glanced behind him to his decimated squadron of men laying broken and battered, many dead, to find the seventeen year old kid in the red bandana raising his assault rifle to aid in his fight. He smiled and began shouting to the advancers again (mostly profane insults) as he dropped one weapon to drag Carson off to a large mound of snow to their left. The whirling snow created a white out as Carson's vision began to fade in and out of focus and the world became less real by the minute. Amazingly, Cook had pinned down the entire squad of advancing Russians, fired eighteen rounds into the front their commanding officer, and pulled Carson out of the fight. They were all that remained of their squad, and everyone from Alpine Company had been wiped out. Carson and Cook regressed to a small cavern in the rocks to wait out the battle and call for backup. They made sure to warn the men of the audio attacks which had overcome their whole company. Cook tossed a blanket to Carson's bloody form as he sat down with his own.

"It'll get cold in here waiting for rescue, and you can forget about cuddling up to me for warmth," said Cook with a deadpan face. "Get some rest. I'll keep watch until they arrive." Sleep seemed nowhere to be found as Carson tried to doze off in the corner. It would be hours until anyone could clear the area outside. The explosions seemed a trivial thing as exhaustion and loneliness set in on the seventeen year old boy. He decided against lighting up another cigarette. He missed his mother, and hardly thought she would approve.

The hours seemed to come and pass as if someone was hastily turning the hands of time.Night had fallen full and bitter cold upon the now silent scene of the recent chaos.Although he could not see outside, Carson knew what wreckage lay so close by yet so far behind.He envisioned men's bodies littering the ground, Russian soldiers scavenging their bodies for useful information and components.Carson chanced a look at Cook, who had passed the time staring at the wall straight ahead of him in the wide and dimly lit cavern they had come to rest in.He had gone through a full pack of cigarettes by this point, and was still going strong.Something was off, although Carson could not put his finger on it.He decided to chance at replacing his chip, which was amazingly still tucked within his palm in his vice-like grip from when he first ripped it from his own head.Letting up on his grip and looking at the thing, its outward appearance seemed a bit of a surprise at first.It seemed to have a bit of a life of its own.Every once in a while it would give sort of a surge of life-like energy and light, emitting a soft yet rich golden light which illuminated the immediate surrounding area of the cavern.Carson pictured the surges as a sort of sub-human breathing, the chip sustaining its own life while emitting light and providing super-human capabilities for another.He thought of the sheer genius of the thing itself, although he knew nothing of how it worked.He imagined all the wars and destruction of the past.A crazy thought occurred to him:What if all the chips were infused with souls of past fallen soldiers.A chill ran down his spine that had nothing to do with the sub-zero temperatures of the night.
"What crazy ass thing are you thinking of now?"Questioned Cook.He had this way about him, a near telepathic ability where he could tell when someone was in deep thought, and sometimes what it was about.Carson's pale blue eyes met Cook's, grey and piercing, although strangely comforting.
"Nothing really, I was thinking about chancing again with my chip, seeing if the audio attacks are gone yet."This was not a total lie.It had been, in fact, what had prompted him to gaze at the chip in the first place.
"Not a bad idea pretty boy," said Cook with a tone of interest."But hold on; let me be the guinea pig for this one.Your head's taken enough for one day."Cook could be noble when it was most needed.His fingers procured his own chip from seemingly thin air (it was hard to tell in the dim light of the cavern) and brought it coolly to the right side of his head where the metal sidings of the receptor slit protruded slightly from his scalp."Cheers," he said as a tiny click sounded, meaning the chip had connected.All at once, his body seized up in pain, and a jolting arm ripped the thing out of his head once more."Damn!They still got the frequency broadcasting on override!"He let out a sigh of disappointment and looked briefly to the floor, raising his eyes upon his next words.
"Alright pretty boy, time to learn stealth."
Being without the chips meant that their armor would be too heavy to move efficiently in the night, and as the frequency was still broadcasting, that meant the Russians were still actively controlling the area outside.They had taken the ground and had not yet given it up.Carson had to strip many layers of his outside armor, leaving behind bits and pieces he deemed least vital.He stopped once his body felt to be its normal weight again; not that of the crushing armor he had known in the time spent in the cavern.All that remained was his left shoulder pad, curving elegantly down his upper arm and giving him adequate protection from high shots and his knee and elbow pads.He felt as one of the black ops members.Cook hadn't needed to ditch any pieces of armor, as he already wore few enough that he could manage without enhanced strength.It also helped that he was strong enough to move in a full suit without any help.Both deciding they were sufficiently prepared for nighttime movement and sneaking, the pair gathered their weapons and headed to the mouth of the cavern, Cook finishing a final cigarette, as the red glow would be a dead giveaway in the nighttime darkness.
"On my signal, follow me.Stick close but maintain intervals, and for God's sake stay low, boy!"Cook thrust Carson to one knee, mirroring his own position."Better," he said, glancing out towards the pitch blackness that so drastically contrasted the snow-blind whiteness of daytime."Mess up and we're both screwed, got me?"He didn't even wait for a response."Let's roll"
The frigid night air filled Carson's nostrils, pierced his lungs.He had been trained, and to a certain extent, artificially altered, to withstand cold such as this.His body, like most other soldiers of his time, ran super-heated, with an average internal temperature of about 150 degrees.This kept him warmer than the average un-altered civilian in normal conditions, but the many years of high-tech life and warfare had left the world colder and more scarred than before.This drastic body alteration was necessary for survival in these conditions and in this climate.Still, Carson's skin seemed to contract at contact with the open night.The two crept silently as shadows blended with the night.They approached a bend in the hillside which was home to the cavern.Cook's hand was barely visible in the darkness, and Carson nearly slammed into him, only barely stopping himself inches from his partner.
"Alright pretty boy, here comes the tough part.The part where there's a legitimate threat."Cook's tone was dead serious despite the humor in his words."Around this bend is the field we fought in earlier, the trenches aren't too far away.Closer than you thought, right?"Cook peered around the corner to the battlefield of a few hours ago where barbed wire, trenches and towers had been placed feebly to help hold the line against the Russian march.He quickly reeled his head back."They got the whole place patrolled, spotlights and snipers in the towers.Take a look, but make sure you aren't spotted!"Carson approached the corner as Cook stepped back to allow him to take a look.The sight that met his eyes was gruesome.The bodies of US soldiers, Alpine company and the Fourth Regimen alike, dotted the snowy ground, little heaps of darkness that once sustained life, personality, beliefs and thoughts.The victorious party had made itself at home and cleaned up their portion of the dead, however left that of the opposition to the scavengers.Then Carson saw something which turned his stomach.A soldier was letting his dog eat the fallen member of Alpine company, laughing at the beast's lust for human flesh and blood.When the animal turned its sights upon its master, the latter silenced the beast's foreboding growls with a swift shot to the head from his handgun.The laughter of the two soldiers watching sent a fresh wave of chills down Carson's back.He was shaking with rage at how senseless and unconcerned the enemy seemed with other life, even the dead.He turned back to report what he saw to Cook, however his eyes were fixed on the soldier who had just destroyed the monster it had made out of his dog by letting it eat the fallen.Something about him reminded Carson of someone he had seen before, only for a second.His mastery and preference of a handgun was another factor in the familiarity of the man.He was so intent upon figuring this out that he barely noticed the spotlight creeping up to his position, until he heard a shrill voice behind him shout, "Down, pretty boy!"
Cook's cry had not been in time, and the spotlight had caught the dumbfounded Carson gazing upon the scene of the battle from earlier in the day.Rapid machine gun fire opened up and barely caught Carson's elbow as he snapped into attention and flew behind the hill cover once again.Every light in the area began searching their position, finding the intruders.All guns were fixed upon this point.The faint barks and howls of search dogs, intent upon finding human blood, reached Carson and Cook's ears.
"Follow me, now!"Shouted Cook, sprinting now into the open desolate snow-covered ground, abandoning his rifle where he had been crouched moments ago.The area was lit brightly with search lights.Whistles and gunfire echoed from every corner of the Russian encampment, bullets streaking just behind and barely to the side Cook, who was now dashing for dear life to a nearby trench.Carson's legs acted of their own accord as he too ditched his rifle and drew his pistol in pursuit of his much more experienced partner.Bullets did not fear him as they did the wild man a few yards ahead of him.He felt a shot graze off his shoulder pad, nearly knocking him off balance completely.He barely stumbled into the pit ahead of him to meet an enraged and adrenaline-pumped Cook.His eyes those of a mad man, he drew his knife from its case strapped to his left forearm and pressed it to his bare left palm, squeezing hard as he slid the blade smoothly along his own palm.He wiped the blade off in the snow before replacing it in its case and tightly closing a fist to pump out more blood and let it slip gracefully into the snow.
"What are you doing!"Shouted the wildly confused Carson.He knew the acuteness of the dogs' sense of smell.
"Shut up, I'm saving both of us!"Replied Cook as he quickly snatched Carson's bandana and wrapped it around his still bleeding palm.He then reached into the pocket on his vest and pulled a small baggie of a substance as white as the snow around them."They're getting closer, I can hear their footsteps," said Cook as he removed the rubber band from the top of the baggie. "You never know when this stuff helps, be it work or pleasure," he said through a snicker as he sprinkled the powder over his own fresh blood in the snow to his right."Cocaine's one hell of a drug, any dogs that come to sniff this will get just a touch more than they bargained for."Carson's mouth hung open yet no words would materialize upon his tongue.Cook then formed a neat line upon his finger and snorted the stuff down in one go."Let's go, we don't have much time before they get here, follow me!"The two set off down the trench system, following its winding curves and intersections with an instinctual bearing of Southwest, the direction of their encampment, in mind.Every once in a while they would hear hurried footsteps or distant barking in the distance.A few times they heard whistles and excited whoops followed by the swift cracks of gunfire, only to be followed by the silence that meant it had been a false alarm.The base was on edge, there were enemies in its bounds and every Russian army member deployed there was determined to be the one who found them and savored the last kill of the day.As they came to a tunnel in an approaching hill, they heard chatter inside.It was rapid Russian, none of which Cook or Carson could understand.Cook stopped a distance from the entrance and listened."Sounds like about four of them, maybe five.Still got your pistol?"Carson held up the compact handgun for Cook to see."Ditch it, that'll only get us spotted, unless you have a silencer on you."Cook grabbed the weapon and pressed it into the snowy siding of the trench, covering it again and smoothing over the sides with the now freshly falling snow.The two were each sprinkled with flakes, making them appear as phantoms in the night stalking through the camp.Cook procured a second knife, this time concealed in his boot, and handed it to Carson.Carson examined and admired the thing.It was perfect in length and weight for close range combat.
"You carry two knives with you?"Carson questioned in a joking tone.
"Three," replied Cook, as he pulled back his vest to reveal a third knife strapped to his bare chest."Whatever helps you sleep at night, right?"Carson couldn't help but chuckle."Alright pretty boy here's the plan.The guards in there are most likely doing a standard watch duty.I've come to know the Russian army basic encampment setup, and a bunker like this is usually pretty close to the exit.They'll be armed and ready, yet most likely a little chummy, meaning they won't be expecting this, judging by the amount of gabbing they're doing in there.Two guards on the doorway, one on either side.I'll take the one on the left and you get the right.Improvise from there.Ready?One…two…three!"On that count, Cook slid from the trench wall and glided through the doorway, followed like a shadow by Carson.
Carson reached around into the room lit yellow by a field lantern hung on the wall and grasped for the guard he knew to be here.His fingers met with the throat of the unsuspecting man, and he reacted from instinct.He threw a punch with his knife hand, however impacting instead with his fist, stunning the man for an instant.Carson's mind froze.He was never in combat like this before.The door guard seemed to know what he was doing better.The man's angry brown eyes and scruffy jaw line made him appear to be at least forty, an experienced fighter.He swiftly head-butted Carson, throwing him off his guard.The Russian struck Carson's temple with the stock of his rifle and took aim at his opponent and chambered his rifle.Carson's eyes looked up to peer down the barrel of the weapon as he braced for the worse.Then he saw the fierce appearance of Cook dash forward and grab the guard by the wrist, twisting and breaking it with ease.Cook's eyes were like those of death himself, his scowl reflecting every wrinkle etched into his face, emphasizing the severity of his intentions.The guard let out a shriek of pain as Cook's blade punctured him twice in each arm, immobilizing him on the spot.Cook then swung around to deal with the assailants behind him.Everything seemed to happen in half speed.He ducked low and thrust his blade into the stomach of the first man, twisting the knife and grasping the man's forearm as he elegantly rolled him over his shoulder, slicing along his torso the whole way until the guard lay a bloody heap on the ground.The second man hesitated at this sight, giving Cook just the opening he needed.He struck swift and cleanly to the soldier's neck, not once but three times, ensuring his kill as he planted his boot to the man's chest and throwing him to the floor in yet one another fluid motion.He then turned slowly with the greatest composition to the guard who had thrown Carson off initially.The man was clutching the four clean puncture wounds on his arms, yet remained defiant and ready to fight.Cook threw a jab with his knife for the man's chest, which he blocked and countered with a swift kick which caught cook right under the chin.Cook reeled back onto the ground and spat blood onto the snowy ground, looking even meaner and more dire than before. He rolled up and feinted another jab at the soldier, reeling his left hand around for a roundhouse punch to the man's jaw.This threw him back a bit, and as Cook went for the kill the man regained his composure in the last second, stopping Cook's knife mere fractions of an inch from his neck.The two struggled, pushing with all their might at each other.Carson's hand seemed to save Cook by its own choice.Carson rolled onto his hands and knees, grabbing his knife which layed where it had fallen after the soldier had head-butted him.He slid the knife quickly at the back of the man's ankles, bringing him to his knees.Cook seized the opportunity to approach his now totally immobilized opponent.He looked coldly into the man's eyes for a moment, then spat into his face before snapping his neck like that of a chicken.He wiped his knife off on the uniform of one of the now five dead men in the room before replacing it into its case as Carson stumbled to his feet, still woozy from the combat he had just seen and that of earlier in the day.
"Well trained, these ones," murmered Cook as he spat out another bloody wad, this one containing a tooth."That's our way out."He gestured to the exit of the bunker.It was a latched door, apparently explosive-proof and had a fingerprint scanner on it."Let's play find the officer," he said as he and Carson began to search the dead for any signs of significance or special notification.It was more than likely the commanding officer's fingerprint they needed.The man who Cook had first taken out (Carson had not even seen Cook's first two kills) wore neatly painted red stripes on his right shoulder pad of his armor and a small symbol that resembled a triangle made of red stars on his left breastplate.Cook grabbed his hand and dragged the body over to the scanner, placing the dead officer's fingertip onto the scanner.The door made an electronic beep and opened smoothly for them."Time to go home," Cook said with a smile and a backwards glance towards Carson.
The walk back to their base had been relatively peaceful, aside from the brief sprint from the entrance to the few trees that dotted the landscape between the Russian encampment and their own.Thoughts dwelled in Carson's head, thoughts of little baggies of white powder.He looked to the man trudging ahead of him, the man he admired so much for his fearlessness and combat ability.It had been a massive shock to Carson to think that one of his biggest influences had been hiding a cocaine addiction.Was that the real reason he refused to be promoted or join up with black ops?Maybe his radical behavior was not only a side effect of, but a way of covering up this new-found secret.Carson's head swam and his body ached all over.He imagined that even his blood hurt.Trying to think of Cook as less than a hero was difficult to say the least.Carson recalled the cavern and Cook's strange behavior, and how now he seemed back to his normal self.It had been many hours since either of the two were alone at that point.Maybe Cook had simply been feeling the effects of going sober for the first time in a while.The cocaine had in all honestly helped them escape the dogs though, however illegal substances were enough to get him dishonorably discharged, regardless of his ability or past achievements.
"So I'm guessing you're all shut up because of what you saw back there."Cook's voice gave Carson a start after his regression into his own mind.He took longer than usual to reply.
"I'm no stranger to combat.You think I'm still scared of a little blood?"His voice faltered at this attempt at a joke.
"You know that's not what I'm talking about.Listen Carson," the mere fact that he had used Carson's real name, not some ludicrous nick name, was enough to put him on edge from the start."You know I'm a good guy.You've seen the things I do for you and the other guys.If word of this got out, I'd be screwed.Make sure that doesn't happen, alright?"Cook stopped walking and waited for a response.Carson stood dumbfounded at what he had just taken in.He didn't honestly know what to say.In an instant Cook drew his blade and threw Carson into a nearby tree, pressing the blade to his neck."Alright punk, there's two ways I can go about doing this. I can either trust in you, or I can rip your throat out right here and leave you to bleed out like a pig.I like you kid.Don't screw that up."Tiny beads of blood had begun to appear on Carson's neck.He had to act fast.
"Alright, I promise!I won't breathe a word about it!Just let me go!"Carson's voice was strangled by fear's choking grasp.Cook was suddenly more menacing than any enemy he had ever faced.His hero, his idol was pressing a blade to his throat to cover up a dirty little secret.

"Good.There's a reason I keep you around.You could be useful with some careful instruction.Remember that."At Cook's final words, the knife slacked slightly and Carson scrambled to the floor and caught his breath."Now hurry up, we want to make it home before lunch."Carson hadn't even taken notice to the sun rolling up over the horizon, bringing a dull glow of what would normally be a glorious sunrise.The fighting had plagued the sky with haze and filth in much of the world.Beautiful sunny skylines weren't something you saw anymore, not even in the remote wilderness of Alaska.The pair continued in their way to their base to recuperate and find out what became of their comrades.It wasn't until almost noon that they arrived back at their encampment.





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